Public art in the subway/metro.
Word up Homies,
Hopefully I will not offend everybody with this email, as my writing style can be blunt and vulgar, so be prepared. But let me repeat what I said last year when I first truly traveled Mexico. I love Mexico!! It is a mixture of the people and the culture. Everybody is extremely kind and willing to help and laugh and drink beers and dance and tell jokes and talk soccer and listen to Los Angeles Azules and send out a big grito of viva Mexico cavrones!! As I have said before, my Spanish is Mexican Spanish, so I think that helps a lot. Now it is time to get into the main course.
.................aaaaahhhhhhhhh, thus far it has been an interesting adventure full of the usual surprises and such. I am presently in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. I will be leaving in a few days to go to the lost Mayan city known as Palenque before I prepare to ride "chicken buses" through Guatemala. But alas, that is only what the future beholds, let me tell thee of thy adventures thus far.....................
Political material for Obrador.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Mexico DF, museo de la revolucion - Mexico df, Mexico makes great fruit smoothies for very cheap, cervesas, dancin, a reggae club in DF without any alcohol, yet with 2,000 people dancing.
...weird, Frida Kahlo's "crib," Leon Trotsky's "crib"-only a few blocks away from Frida's - henceforth their affair before Stalin's dudes killed him with an ice pick - Yikes!
The Virgin of Guadalupe as found at the metro stop Hidalgo.
Some "cholos" on the Mexico DF metro who looked straight out of the movie "blood in, blood out," or "colors," whatever early nineties LA Gangsta movie you prefer.
A battle with the Virgin of Guadelupe, A cool neighborhood known as Cayoacan - Bohemian, a case of diarrhea, more murals by Diego Rivera and co., a return grudge match with the Anthropology Museum of DF - This time I won!
A controversial presidential election in Mexico, a post election rally for the runner up - Obredor of the PRD - Is he Socialist? Will he fight the outcome amidst charges of corruption and scandal in an election only decided by about 400,000 votes? Is Hugo Sanchez (the coach of Pumas) related to Hugo Chavez (Leader of Venezuela)? Will Batman be able to save the day from the Joker? Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel.
The Church of the Virgin of Guedalupe.
U.N.A.M. - The biggest university in all of the Americas - 260,000 students for about $170 bucks a year - also home to the Pumas soccer club - but Viva Las Chivas!
If you are really religious you might want to skip this section. I personally recommend that you go cook a grilled cheese and return to reading in 5 minutes.
Tony vs. The Virgin of Guadelupe - Round 1
Dear Virgin of Guadelupe,
We have met before, as I was one of the thousands that came into contact with you underneath the viaduct on Fullerton Avenue underneath the Kennedy Expressway (chicago man).
As a matter of fact, I liked it so much I returned for seconds. I have read about your other appearances, such as on a grilled cheese sandwich in Florida, and a fish stick in Tennessee (actually I think that was Jesus on the fishstick). I even met you on the mexico city metro, right off of the Hidalgo stop, were people found you in a wall in a passage just like when they found you underneath the Highway in Chicago. Man, you got some skills in showing up in all those crazy places. I always wondered how that person that was cooking that grilled cheese sandwich must have felt like when you made your appearance, and I wanted to feel that. I knew there was only one way, and that was by going to your birthplace.
There she is, I snapped this picture from a moving walkway! How holy..
You see in 1531(I think that is the date) there was the Aztec Indian dude named Juan Diego who lived in what remained of Tenochtitlan (The Spaniards said it was the most beautiful city in the world, so they decided to destroy it in 1521, now it is known as Mexico DF). Well back to Juan Diego, he went to what remained of one of his old Aztec temples and was trying to pray to one of his gods, but instead this dark skinned Virgin Mary appeared and told him to convert to Catholicism. Cause she was dark skinned, the Mexican Indians followed and now a days Mexico is the most Catholic country that I have ever been to. I still wonder how Juan Diego earned that name, as he originally had some Aztec name as it was only 10 years after the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs, and I know Juan Diego was older than 10 when he saw you. Back to the subject, So, Virgin of Guadelupe, I knew the only way to truly encounter you was to return to the precise place that Juan Diego first encountered you in Mexico DF. I made my journey on a bus through multiple neighborhoods, until I saw the church that they built on top of the original Aztec temple. I walked up the hill/old temple and all over the 3 churches on its premises. I expected you to make my skin start to burn and/or make me have a religious awakening of some sort for my passed activities, however it was quite the contrary.
Jade Mask of a Mayan King from the Anthropology Museum.
I stood on the moving walkway (just like they have in the airport) and snapped some pictures of you and such. I also sat and chilled on the hill for like 20 minutes, and nothing happened. What the F#$/!!! However I am currently feeling my skin start to burn and such.............but it was pretty cool to see the place where you originally made your appearance, so thanks, and peace and hairgrease. Tony
The island of Patzcuro.
and for those of you that skipped the above passage, I hope you enjoyed a good grilled cheese sandwich :)
A fun international hostel in Mexico DF with a football coach named Miguel and a chica named Dulce. There was also some crackhead American named Cookie who was going to Tijuana - good that is where she belongs.
World Cup games - watching England lose and the Brits cry - ha! Watching Brazil lose to France-ssshhhiiitttt! Watching Zidane pull a bushwacker headbut so Italy can win in a boring final- insert longer version of ssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Meeting up with some old friends from last year in DF in some cheesy night club in a mall - There are cheesy clubs all over the world, and onto the beautiful city of Morelia.
Little fried fish.
Rock bars in Morelia, some Island called Patzcuaro with a cool statue on top, strange little fish to eat, "Special guests" at a rodeo tournament, Jiu Jitsu in Acapulco, the beaches of Puerto Escondido, cool chilangos in Puerto Escondido, a chill town named Mazunte, swimming with turtles, getting shit on by some type of evil sea bird, a trip through the clouds from Mazunte to Oaxaca City, more cervesas, more dancin, the ruins of Monte Alban, Jiu Jitsu in Oaxaca City, a teachers strike that has lasted 2 months, a 36 mile bike trip in the Oaxacan Valley, some Indian ladies that could weave a mean rug, good pasta in San Cristobal, tlayudas, and too many wanna be Mexican Rastafarians in San Cristobal de Las Casas praising "Jah," but they did have good music.
Somehow at the rodeo, me and my partner in crime, Tynan, repeatedly got announced over the loudspeakers.
For the rest of the rodeo tournament, the announcer would say "mujeres, caballeros, y gueros de Chicago" - Translated as "ladies, gentlemen, and white boys of Chicago." Embarrassing enough as it was, it turned out quite rewarding, as all these Mexicans that lived in the states at one time or another started coming over and buying us beer and mezcal. It was a long night, highlighted with a finish were they just put a small bull in the ring, and let crazy people run in the ring and taunt it. I ended up being one of the crazy ones. Some knucklehead got trampled and a horn stuck up his ass. Luckily I visited the church of the Virgin of Guadelupe, so she must have protected me from being trampled by the vile beast.
Claudio Reyna is my new name, as the chilangos of Puerto Escondido thought I look like the American Soccer Star........well I guess after the World Cup performance I might hesitate in calling him a star........maybe it was more of an insult.
Downtown Oaxaca City is beautiful colonial place, as I was there in early April. However on my return I found it destroyed. Political graffiti spraypainted all over the colonial stone walls, barricades set up, banks locked up and secured, nice restaurants and hotels completely closed with broken windows and such. There was a riot on June 14 caused by the teachers that were on strike, the students that were there supporting them, and the police. The Protesters were teargassed via helicopter and a riot ensued, which destroyed much of downtrown Oaxaca. I talked to the teachers (University and High School) of Oaxaca. They make about $6,000 a year. They have been on strike since mid may. They have a definite right to earn a good raise. They meet everyday in downtown Oaxaca under canopies in protest. It shuts down the entire central area, however, as I said, they definitely need a raise. Government jobs in Mexico do not pay enough. That is one of the reasons that you see such corruption with the police and such. However there is a giant black market economy that runs completely tax free. I like my government job, its pay, and its benefits....It makes me appreciate it more.
San Cristobal de Las Casas - the supposed home of the Zapatistas (ELZN) and Comandante Marcos. It seems more like a hippy town than a guerrilla rebel base. A bunch of Mexicans running around with dreadlocks, a few tourists with Comandante Marcos T-Shirts, some Indian women and kids selling little dolls with the Zapatsita masks on, and a few amber stores. However I will tell you that there is a definite Indian feel for the town. It is poorer than other Mexican states, and it constantly rains. There is a church/maya temple in the small town of Chamula a few miles away in the valley. It is one of those places where a lot of the Indians do not speak Spanish. What the Maya Indians did was replace their Gods with those of the Catholic Saints. Henceforth the Mayan God of corn and harvest (Yum Kax) might be represented by St. Jerome. So you enter the "Church/temple" and you see all of these Mayans worshipping certain Saints. There are hundred of candles lit, pine needles all over the floor, coca-cola offerings to the "Saints," as well as a chicken or two being sacrificed by some Mayan lady chanting in her language. A priest only comes for baptism, aside from that certain men of the village run the temple. IT IS A MAYAN TEMPLE IN A MODERN CHURCH!!! Very interesting to see. Many Mayan people were kicked out of Chamula for converting to some form of Catholicism. They now live in the poor part of San Cristobal de Las Casas. However I have yet to see any sort of shantytown or such in Mexico, a problem that many other Latin American countries face due to increased urbanization
There are way too many "wookies," or white boys with dreadlocks, in San Cristobal de Las Casas. They need to get something..........oh yeah, it is called a job!
Now hopefully if I have not truly offended everybody, I will see you all when I get back. In all seriousness, I am having a good time and behaving myself. After this, hopefully I will be out of the rain and into Guatemala. From there I will end my trip with an old Clipper Crew member in Miami that is known as the Jedi. Too everybody else, peace and hairgrease, have a good summer, I heard that it is really hot in the chi,Tony